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tv   [untitled]    April 22, 2013 2:44am-3:14am PDT

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the housing needs of lgbt seniors. all lgbt seniors are welcome to testify about their housing concerns no matter the type they live in, rent control, or other subsidized units, a sro, a shelter, a home that they own, et cetera. seniors are welcome to talk about the shelters and difficulties finding a place to live and also threats of evictions, actual evictions or other evictions and not safeo secure or has a infestation, foreclosure, any other concern to lgbt seniors, so to testify i don't see any cards around so i
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will ask people just to line up if they want to testify. you can line up on either side. it's probably better to line up on that side so we don't block the door, and basically we're going to give you two minutes but we're going to be flexible if you should happen to need more time, but we're going to ask you if you could to keep it to two minutes and finally if you know someone that couldn't be here for some reason they can submit written testimony. we will take written testimony and you can get an email address from one of us to send written testimony and i have written testimony from two individual who is these will be read into the record this morning and unless there are comments from the sitting members. >> mr. chair. no comment. let's proceed with the hearing. >> great. anyone else? okay.
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let's begin with the hearing. first person please. >> hi. good morning -- [inaudible] >> it's not working very well. >> good morning. i am tom [inaudible]. i'm a member of the advisory committee of the san francisco human rights commission and i am here to discuss an issue i had with chinatown community development and their lottery for mary hellen rogers. hi a low lottery number. i was called in for an interview. i received a letter stating that lease signing would be january 15 -- lease signing, not move in. i was scheduled for spine surgery on that date. prior to that time i was walking with a cane or a walker. i went in and asked for reasonable accommodation to delay the lease signing and i was told i was supposed to move in on january 15 also, so one thing
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lead to another, and i wound up losing my place in the lottery and my apartment in mary helen rogers. that is briefly what happened. i have written testimony that is longer that goes into detail but it was a stressful, horrendous whole situation that they put me through and they wouldn't give me reasonable accommodation for the american disability act because i was having surgery on that day. >> are you finished? >> yeah. >> can i ask you some questions. have you filed at human rights commission? my understanding is they have to give you reasonable accommodation. >> no. i didn't file with the human rights commission because i am on one of the committees and i didn't know if that was a conflict of interest because i'm on a committee so i didn't file with the human rights commission. i made a complaint to hud, whether that is being
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followed up or not i don't know. >> who is "they" that you refer to? >> chinatown development company and the people at the mary helen rogers. mark lopez and the property manager and i have talked to other people and apparently i'm not the only person they tried to force in there without -- without even viewing an apartment. i couldn't see an apartment. i couldn't go into an apartment and they wanted me to move into the apartment on january 15, and i have a subsidy so i'm only allowed one residence and they wanted me to have double residence which means i would have to pay out of pocket for one of the places for 15 days plus pay movers. at the time i couldn't walk. i was using a cane or a walker
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and i couldn't do anything. >> is the current housing under china development corp? >> yes it is. >> is that stable? is that safe? >> i have issues with crescent cove because one of the employees called me a fagot and since that time i have been on the watch list with them, and recently we have a fire alarm testing and when i came become after the testing it really looked like my apartment had gone been gone through. you live there and i am not concerned. if they want to look let them look because there is nothing to see. >> good morning. i do have a question for you. have you checked with any other departments, whether city, state, or federal department that you addressed with? any
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other department out of the human rights commission here in san francisco? >> well, as i said i didn't address it with the human rights commission because i felt i was on a committee i thought it wouldn't be right, a conflict of interest i thought maybe, but i did contact hud, housing urban development. >> what's the status at hud? >> they have not contacted me back. they said they would investigate and that's the last i heard of it. >> how long was that some. >> that was back in january right after this happened and after it all happened it was just like the whole thing went by the way side so now i'm not eligible for an permanent in mary helen rogers. >> >> >> wow, i suggest you get back to hud and sometimes you have to stay on top of them. >> will do. >> any other questions from the thank
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-- sub committee? thank you very much. a resource right in the room. how many copies do you have? two. we can share them. thank you very much. next. >> good morning. i am bill hirsch and the director of the aids legal panel and provide services to people living with hiv/aids and as you may know 50% of the folks living with hiv in san francisco are older than 50. i wanted to make one point before i go into my presentation. while fair housing law does require a land lor to require a reasonable accommodation it doesn't say they grant it. it simply states that a conversation goes on with what would work with the individual with the qualified disability, but i wanted to first focus on the housing work
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that alrp does. we provide two staff attorneys who focus exclusively on housing. i could have a small army of attorneys working exclusively on housing issues. we handled over 630 housing cases last year. of our housing clients more than 80% are lgbt and more than 60% of our clients are over 50. we handle a full array of legal issues, so everything from evictions to habitablity to rent increases. we have seen a dramatic increase in the number of evictions. many are for owner move in and evictions and as you're away the ellis act doesn't have to be filed in order for the individual to be threatened with the ellis act
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eviction and they have to negotiate with the landlord because there know there is no defense to the ellis act eviction so those kinds of evictions are on the rise and concern for our clients because there are many people in rent controlled unit for a long time who are at risk of losing their housing, but the other big challenge i point out is something we are concerned about and there are many individuals with hiv/aids who have been living off of the income from a long-term disability policy. it's a policy that they either bought on their own or secured through previous employment and those folks -- >> i'm sorry, can i interrupt you because it looks like we're not televising and i want to make sure we get -- i'm going to call the guy who was in here earlier bud and see what is going on. sorry about that folks but we have no control
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over the television. >> i have notorious bad karma with technology so i may have brought the system down. >> i don't think so. i think there has been a problem with this all along. sorry, i'm having trouble with this. i'm having trouble with technology as well this morning. sorry folks. oh we're back on. just like magic. can you go back a few sentences? >> sure. we have been seeing a dramatic increase in the number of evictions for what i would say are no fault evictions.
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over move in evictions, ellis act evictions. as you know for ellis act eviction there is is no defense so oftentimes we see people threatened with it so they don't face the actual lawsuit but they are forced to negotiate with the landlord to get the best terms of agreement to leave because there is no defense to the lawsuit, so we have seen a dramatic increase in the number of folks at risk of losing affordable housing because they have been in their rent controlled unit for many years. another big challenge that i see that's specific with people with hiv is people who have had either through work or through their own private purchase a long-term disability policy and allow them to have significantly greater income from federal disability and many of those folks have been able to live in housing situations
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which would not be affordable if they were living on ssdi or ssi. those policies term out at 62 or 65 depending what the nature of the language is in the insurance contract, and what we're concerned is there are many people that didn't anticipate to live this long who have not planned for the future, and as a result are going to find themselves in housing that they can no longer afford. with that said i just want to briefly say that many of the needs that lgbt seniors face are the same as other seniors, and we all know in order for seniors to live independently they live affordable accessible housing that has services that allow them to live independently. i'm going to make a big guess that everybody here doesn't want to end up in a nursing home and in order to avoid that we need affordable accessible housing
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that has appropriate services so that we can live independently. there are many plans that you folks can reference that talk about some of the wonderful work that advocates have done over time that have not been implemented that specifically address the needs of seniors and persons with disabilities. everything from having a housing modification fund so people can do modifications to their units so that they can live independently to layering subsidies on tax credit buildings, so the lovely new accessible housing that is developed is actually affordable to folks at the lowest income levels so just like we target homeless folks and layer subsidies in order to address the priority we could layer subsidies on tax credit buildings and get some of that accessible housing which is not affordable to our folks. maybe we can by layering some city
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subsidies on. there are other ideas that we've had like having a centralized data base around the affordable housing opportunities so people didn't need to run to a multd tude of housing providers and figure out the wait list for the building. there is no centralized data base. there are a ton of other ideas and i just want to reference some of the planning documents that maybe good reading for you. there is everything from the consolidated plan -- >> oh came back on. sorry for some reason it went off but it's back. >> there is the consolidated plan that the city is required to be eligible for hud funding. this is the analysis of impediments and looks at barriers for individuals with disabilities. there is the living with dignity plan that daas created and has section of
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housing needs and individuals and seniors with disabilities. unfortunately given the lack of funding for affordable housing in the city we haven't been able to actualize many of the ideas over the years so i appreciate the focus you folks are bringing to this and i am happy to get you more information and support your work in anyway i can. >> great. can you stay there for a second? i think we have questions for. >>you i have a quiet out of curiosity. has anybody looked into the possibility or feasibility of pooling all sorts of subsidies together that lgbt seniors, hiv positive people, all of those groups receive and use that pooled funds on an annual or monthly basis to invest in house something. >> there are a couple thoughts. first of all the city does something like that for some target the populations that it
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has prioritized so it has money -- city general fund dollars that it puts into subsidies for specific population and make some housing more afford able for folks and there is one stream targeted for people with hiv and that comes in two forms of section eight. some are attached to a building and some are vouch kers that go a individual and some ideas in that building are more deeply affordable to folks. what i was suggesting is that on top of that the city could use city general funds to make some of the newer units that are accessible affordable and i will just say that much of the affordable housing in the city
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is sro's that had some level of rehab done to them that makes them affordable but those older buildings tend not to be accessible. they have limited requirements in terms of accessibility. newer construction buildings have greater requirements around accessibility, but because most new construction buildings are not built with section eight because we don't have a lot of money coming in from the federal government for new section eights, those buildings are usually done with tax credits so the level of affordability is much lower than what our very low income clients can afford. most people on ssi can't get into a tax credit building. they are definitionally excluded so i was suggesting that the city use some level of general funds and layer a subsidy just
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like for homeless folks and get some of the newer accessible units affordable to our folks. >> that would be wonderful. >> okay. jazzy. how many clients are you seeing per day or are they repeating clients that you have worked in the past? can you elaborate on that more? >> yeah i don't have statistics with that but i can tell you we handle over 2,000 cases a year for about 1500 folks. many of those folks are returning clients especially in housing, because those folks have on going challenges that don't necessarily get fixed readily. >> i have a few questions. could you talk a little bit your success rate in terms of stopping evictions? you talk about that and people coming in with eviction problems and how successful are you? and i know
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how hard it's to stop an eviction and ellis and do you have a good success rate? >> success is a challenging term to define in legal work. we can't guarantee what the out outcome of the individual case and we're not the deciders of that so i don't have statistics to tell you how many of the folks that were brought for a nuisance eviction were able to stay. what i can tell suwe're incredibly happy everyday when we save people's housing and we do it in numerous ways in different settings along the progressive line of the eviction process, so oftentimes we are able to deal with things when an individual gets a notice and we can avoid it every getting to the point where an eviction is
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fileed. we're able to resolve many of the cases at settlement and again before trial where there is a lot of energy to try to resolve the case. we also -- even if we can't save the individual's housing there are a number of thing we can do to minimize the bad result so we can keep the eviction off of an individual's record. we can wave the back rent they owe. many providers won't assist the individual if they don't have the money to pay the rent, a reasonable position because they're limited legal services and if you can't pay the rent you will probably lose anyway. we believe it's important to provide that representation so we can try to make it as easy as possible for the individual to get into their next housing situation. >> wow great. so what is affordable mean to your clients? what is the ami level for
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instance of your average senior, lgbt client? >> 80% of our clients have incomes of $30,000 or less. about 70% have incomes of $20,000 or less. the vast majority are on ssi or s.d sdi for me affordability is the definition of section eight where somebody pays 1/3 of their income. it's hard enough for people to live even if won the lottery and got a section eight and as we have seen in the city if they win the lottery and literally got a section eight it's difficult to find a landlord that will take that section eight. that was highlighted when bevan dufty was working on it and got hundred vouchers for vets and able to find housing for like four of them, so that is a struggle because the affordability crisis in san francisco is so out of
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control right now. >> right. and finally do you know -- do you have any idea how many clients ultimately end up homeless? i know it's a difficult question. i think it's an important thing for us to look at. how many clients are ending up homeless in all of our agencies? >> i don't have statistics on that. >> okay. >> we know that some of the clients do lose. many of our clients in addition to their hiv have active mental and substance abuse issues. despite our efforts people aren't able to manage their behaviors and they make bad choices and that could involve losing their housing. >> any other questions? >> i have a question. of the 2,000 cases that you mentioned are they all related to housing? >> no, no. that's for the total agency. 630 were housing related so you get a sense of
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how critical housing is for our clients. >> yes. >> thank you bill and thank you for the good work that your agency does. >> thank you. you save a lot of people. >> okay. next speaker. >> good morning. i am ellen bloom bloomfield and i serve as the social services manager at open house. we provide community support services and housing for lgbt older adults in san francisco. >> having trouble with the mic. >> yeah, sorry about that. many of the things i wanted to address mr. hirsch addressed so eloquently so i won't go into that. i do want to say that we too at open house are seeing many no fault evictions. we have a housing clinic that we've had for about two, two and a
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half years in which we try to provide information to assist people in finding affordable senior housing. i realize this month earlier in the month they was taking appointments for this clinic in march for may and june. that's how great the need is right now. i would like to share with you actually a few examples of the kinds of people that are meeting in the housing clinic. one is a 70 year old woman who had been working as i residential manager on chestnut street. part of her job she received housing. when the employer decided that she was too old to continue working they
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wanted to dismiss her, not only from the job, but from her housing in approximately three months. she had been on this job for about 10 years. i was able to ask for additional time knowing how difficult it is. she lives only on social social but this is the point that i think is really important. the property managers, the owners, had the assumption that her family would take care of her in old age. that doesn't happen for most lgbt older adults because just by coming out they lost their family of origin and depending on who their friends were many of them lost most of their friend and support networks in the 80's and 90's
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through the aids epidemic. i have another woman that i have been seeing who is 79 years old and is living in an illegal unit. when the owners bought the building they knew the unit was there. all of a sudden they didn't know the unit was there, and so now she's being forced out. she has no place to go. she lives on social social and basically a few friends that she can stay for a short time but her income doesn't match even affordable standards unless she gets hud 202 building. getting on those lists as you have heard already very challenging and the lists on average are between five and seven years. that's not going to help a person who needs
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immediate housing. also want to bring up the situation of a 61 year old man that i met in the housing clinic living in a subsidy in a building near the panhandle. there was so much drug dealing in the building that the landlord decided that he would not let any of the buzzers work. unfortunately this man was getting home delivered meals and they could not continue to deliver to him because the buzzers were not working. this is a man who is living with aids. totally unnecessary. >> wow. >> there is also i think a pervasive pattern of insensitivity of property managers and owners to lgbt older adults. many of our
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older adults are living in housing that is somewhat affordable, but that has not had a major renovation or repair in so many years that the units are actually dangerous to live in. i also want to say it's unusual in the business world that property managers and tenants have such an adversarial relationship. i know of no other business that customers and consumers relate to the same way with owners as they do in the city with property owners and managers. we also helped an older adult try to get into mary helen rogers. once again it was a very quick turn around time. they wanted him to produce a
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check, a security deposit and first month's rent within just a few days of meeting with him. unfortunately he was not i believe to take the unit because it was all coming way too fast. what i would like to urge you to think about today is moving quickly. the longer we wait the longer many of our community members, people who have lived here 30, 40, and 50 years will be dispersed from our great city. thank you very much. >> thank you and i think we might have questions. can you hold on one second? i would like to know does your housing clinic only help people find housing? sounds like you do referrals toen